Caused by a genetic abnormality, eczema is worsened by a damaged skin barrier and chronic inflammation in the skin.
What causes itching? A hypersensitivity to allergens in the environment leads to overactive nerve stimulation. As a result, the skin itches.
Why is the skin dry? There is an imbalance between the natural oils and water in the skin. Plus, the skin does not have the correct amount of fatty acids. This means the skin barrier does not work properly to protect the body from the external environment.
Eczema is not curable, but it is controllable.
Suggestions to help improve eczema symptoms:
- Apply a non-sensitizing cream 2-8 times daily, even if symptoms have decreased
- Avoid temperature extremes
- Maintain an anti-inflammatory anti-oxidant diet with a strong protein component
- Supplements such as iron, flax, borage and vitamin C & E may be beneficial
- Green tea, oolong tea, curcumin and daily probiotics may also be beneficial
- Avoid caffeine, chocolate, alcohol, hot temperatures, spicy food, pain medications, and tea tree oil
- Avoid jewelry made with nickel (costume jewelry)
- Be mindful of “trigger points” your home such as plants, animals, and floor coverings (carpets)
- Have air ducts cleaned every 6 months
- Avoid allergens and irritants such as fragrance (perfume), preservatives and chlorine
- Wash clothes with fragrance-free detergents and repeat the rinse cycle
- Do not use dryer sheets; use only fragrance-free softeners if desired
- Take oral anti-histamines at night to help the itching
If there is weeping or crusting, see your physician immediately for testing.
Consult a health care provider to asses which treatment options would work best for you.